Having fresh innovation strategies is a must for any business model today. To stay ahead of the curve, companies need to incite customer engagement. Thus, the path to a competitive advantage is full of curls and harsh U-turns.

As more new markets appear, business leaders have extra space to channel innovation. Hence, innovation initiatives shouldn’t be a rare commodity. Instead, business models should remain flexible and even subject to radical innovation. In other words, they should adapt to their customer base via their innovation frameworks.

The global market is a shifting place where existing products slowly cease to shine. So, your list of core product elements will soon need an update. At the very least, in the form of new features. Here’s how successful companies continue to drive innovation.

Innovation Frameworks – A Definition

While everyone aims to develop a profit model, an innovation strategy is not just that. In broad terms, it’s about paving the way for continuous improvement. Hence, the innovation framework is the overall structure behind new technologies.

There are many real-life examples of well-envisioned innovation efforts. For example, the W. Chin Kim, R. Mauborgne, and McKinsey innovation frameworks.

Of course, those ideas kept on evolving into their modern versions. Nowadays, people rely on the ten types of innovation frameworks, like the Blue Ocean Strategy.

In short, brands use such metrics to maximize their performance. They weigh those principles against any potential business decision. This includes inspecting the pros and cons and carefully taking calculated risks.

The Ten Types of Innovation Frameworks

Almost three decades ago, the consulting agency Doblin began grouping the types of innovation. To do so, they started by focusing on their mutual elements. However, this study spanned 2,000 noteworthy cases.

As exemplary successes, Doblin considered brands like Lego, Microsoft, and Google. Other types of leading innovations came from Ford, Amazon, McDonald’s, etc.

Upon closely comparing their stories, the agency distilled the ten basic concepts of innovation. Next, they tagged them into three groups: offering, configuration, and experience.

The Mutual Secrets of Successful Innovators

Group 1 – Configuration

These qualities focus on the brand’s internal structure. Most of the time, the starting point is what decides the end result of a given campaign.

The type of profit model

While not all organizations strive for profit, innovation is not a free process. Hence, even for a non-profit brand, the product should at least cover the warm-up costs. In that way, the goal is to make something that will generate value.

In other words, the Profit Model relegates how to increase revenue and sales. However, it doesn’t focus on the ongoing cash flow. Instead, the model centers around creating new revenue streams.

Internal networking structure

Each moving cog should be in the right place in an effective company. Even with remote work, the teams should always stay in touch. In today’s online world, data should flow correctly and in both directions.

Hence, network innovation focuses on internal communication channels. To that end, companies look to their peers for useful solutions and borrow new tech. The right setup can give you a hefty head start and further ensure efficacy. Risk sharing is another added bonus of joint innovation.

Organizational scheme

In essence, companies utilize their tangible and intangible assets to reach a daily goal. This refers to the brand’s resources, capabilities, IPs, etc. Thus allocating them correctly is an ongoing struggle.

A practical solution is to have proper employee/employer channels. That way, any part of any team can reach out to share ideas and opinions. If the system goes silent, then that is a very bad sign.

Companies should always think of new ways to refresh this structure. For example, they can give more space and autonomy to one team for a certain period. At any rate, they should aim for a linear chain of command to always stay at the ready. In that way, they can quickly change courses if external forces demand it.

Internal process innovation

Companies support new innovations by funding resources for a project. Hence, most internal processes are alike, though that doesn’t make them any less important. In fact, brands often suffer due to sticking to the norm when they shouldn’t have.

Updating those methods at the right joints can save both time and money. At the same time, figuring out what needs replacing can show the best way to scale. After all, most leading brands do things in their own way, leaving others to follow. So, taking cues from their books can grant you some competitive advantage.

Group 2 – Offering

This term covers all of the products/services a brand focuses on providing.

The overall product performance

Generally, all R&D teams deal with product performance innovation. In that sense, they keep on finding new ways to conquer the market. This includes both new innovations and altering the existing ones.

Sometimes, even something like a price cut can do wonders for that fiscal period. Yet, there are many more ways to enhance a product. Aspects like safety, accessibility and comfort while using are common focal points.

Types of product system innovation

If the product’s high asking price proves to be the issue, the brand can repurpose it. For example, they can try combining it with another popular offering. That way, they can find that sweet spot and boost both items’ performance in the process.

In short, product system innovation looks for ways to add more value to an existing asset. To that end, brands tend to bundle their products or integrate them. Crafting plug-ins and extensions are other popular choices.

Group 3 – Experience

This group of aspects refers to the customer engagement level. Aside from feedback, it inspects the customer experience with the product as well.

Service innovations

The way you approach and treat your customer is another decisive factor. With proper customer service, the user can fully utilize the product and develop a habit of using it. At the same time, they’re far more likely to recommend it to others. All of that will incite your company’s growth.

Channel innovation

Establishing your brand demand by placing one brick at a time. For that, you’ll need the proper customer relations channels. Aside from stores, there are many more types of direct-to-consumer models. For example, eCommerce and dropshipping. Hence, digital marketing goes hand-in-hand with a thriving business image.

While it depends on your niche, connecting with your audience demands research. In short, it’s about identifying their daily struggles and providing a solution. Thus, leading innovators always work on new ways to set such customer channels.

Some modern examples of this are the popular home delivery and omnichannel models. Also, the on-demand and pop-up stores continue to avert attention too. These are all very new commercial types, meaning the market is ever-growing.

Brand innovation

What you project on the market is how users will remember your brand. So, you can build a presence that many will associate with honesty and quality. Brand innovation aims to improve that aspect and increase brand awareness.

As is the case with other focus points, knowing your audience is key. Once you feel the pulse of the maker,t you can proceed to better shape your identity. Brands achieve this via logo design, ads, campaigns, etc. Still, the market is always hungry for a novel approach.

This ties in with the importance of authority. Pros like transparency and certifications require you to play the long game. At the same time, the team should work on earning positive user feedback and creating good word of mouth.

Customer engagement innovation

Even new businesses can earn the ‘trustworthy’ badge if they are loyal to their customer base. To that end, they should waste no time presenting their values. In today’s online world, finding new ways to do so is a challenge in disguise.

However, simply placing the product is not the sole purpose of this. Instead, such channels should work both ways so you can get useful feedback before long. Next, you can further strengthen the bond.

McKinsey’s Three Horizons Framework

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The Three Horizons of Innovation method focuses on future performance. At its core, it’s about setting the grounds for easy lead generation. Thus, the first horizon is about managing daily affairs and allocating resources.

On this note, this doctrine founds that too many brands spend too much on this. Then, they can’t focus on preparations for moving forward. To avoid this pitfall, Eric Schmidt (one of Google’s CEOs) suggests a 70-20-10 split between the horizons.

The trick is to work on all three fields in conjunction. Making ongoing tasks within each horizon is a practical solution. Further categorization sheds even more light on how the path toward optimal growth. In that way, each initiative will have a suitable space to shine.

What Goes in the First Horizon

Your currently available products populate the first horizon. At this stage, you can focus on how to fine-tune or upgrade your services.

The goal of this task is to recognize where your strengths lie and then press further.

The Organic Growth Goals of the Second Horizon

Some halts in progress happen due to a slight oversight. After figuring out the missing link, companies can resume the process.

The second horizon is equal parts about creating new technologies as well. It can even point to solid openings for new investments.

The Out-of-the-Box Solutions of the Third Horizon

The last group is about branching out in completely new directions. This may even include steps like (carefully) venturing into a different niche. Yet, if you can work on two parallel fronts, you can profit from two venues later on.

Such daring solutions require proper funding and access to the latest tech. At the same time, the third horizon can point to a possible new solution that you can invent. In that way, this method makes a full circle around business model innovations.

The Blue Ocean Strategy

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The Blue Ocean framework excels at finding new fertile grounds for a business. This profit model-centered method labels all thriving industries as “red oceans.” As such, they’re closed off to new ideas due to the set-in-stone rules. Hence, there’s not much usable space in a red ocean.

So, everything outside those boundaries is a “blue ocean.” This umbrella term houses all potential markets where brands can put out new ideas. What this means is that companies should create products for new audiences. In other words, to give people something they didn’t know they wanted.

Breaking such new grounds is a guarantee for profit. It means you’ll enter a market where only you are the provider (at least at first). Hence, you’ll secure a hefty market share and be able to preserve that position with ease.

The practical appliance of this agenda often relies on a brand’s past successes. Yet, following it may lead to a creative new solution and one-upping your competitors. Also, it might direct you to find the right place for your products and services.

The Innovative Ally vs. Acquire Framework

This abbreviation refers to alliances and acquisitions. Undertaking either may be the next pivotal step forward. Both are external resources sources that should pay for themselves, though.

On the flip side, grasping value in this manner is far from a sure shot. First of all, the buyer company should know exactly what they hope to get. Those projections often span several years. Then, they should weigh the immediate costs and how they will impact them.

Sometimes, the race is at an apex, and companies must take risks. That means acquiring another firm to block your competitor’s access. So, while not immediate, the end result of that move might indeed be positive.

The exact outcome will be very hard to pinpoint in most cases. Still, a detailed analysis of your customers’ habits will be useful.

The Buyout Route

To acquire another company, you must purchase more than 50% of its shares. Then, you can take the reins and freely allocate their resources. However, it also comes with a 30% premium cost. Before you make up for it, you won’t have access to any of the profit made.

Therefore, acquisitions can be double-edged swords. Almost always, they lead to a slight financial loss at first. Thus, you need to calculate those expenses beforehand.

The current management team of that company is another factor to consider. For example, you might lack the manpower to replace their positions right away. In such a case, allying with them might be the safer bet.

Entering a Partnership

To ensure their future standings, two or more brands can join forces. With that act, they also reduce the competition on the field. Granted, their goals need to be compatible, so they can pursue them together. That also includes sharing their resources and tech.

Such opportunities are rare, though. Also, the negotiation period tends to stretch, leaving both teams with even more data to analyze. Even when they reach the formal agreement stage, the phases are still incomplete. Each point is subject to critical close-ups and demands for rewrites.

Yet, if they do shake hands, both brands gain a strong foundation to continue growing. From that point on, they’ll enter the market as a single entity. That means performing all maneuvers from different angles but for a unified goal.

Using Various Types of Innovations at Once

The most popular innovation frameworks combine more than one end goal. They spend ample time sourcing innovative ideas and aim to top the S&P 500. Such expenditures prove ROI-effective, though. For a thriving business model, innovation is a key principle.

Therefore, successful brands develop whole R&D branches for producing new ideas. Granted, large companies are at a clear advantage regarding manpower. Still, many businesses move more carefully thanks to their focus on structural innovation.

Conclusion on these Innovation Frameworks

There are many ways for a company to innovate and even reinvent itself. Though the broad term “brand innovations” signals a new product, it’s not limited to that. In practice, companies have many creative workarounds to apply to a situation. All such solutions have the quality of being useful as their single common denominator.

Depending on your business model, you can focus on the basic types of innovations to scale. At all times, keep on updating your innovation strategy.

The top innovators utilize all of the golden principles presented in this article. Such methods are products of years’ worth of research and market examination. Yet, they all rest on the same essentials.

The fact that all those methods feature more than one group of aspects also speaks volumes. It proves that the market is an evolving space that favors risk-takers.

Therefore, a good innovation framework aims to catapult the company to new heights. Getting there requires a lot of know-how, proper funding, and even a safety net. Continuous innovation can supply a brand with all those resources leading to success.

If you liked this article talking about innovation frameworks, you should check out this one explaining what a war room is.

I also wrote about similar topics like project management techniques, what is crashing in project management, project management forecasting, the s-curve in project management, lag time in project management, and primary and secondary stakeholders.


I'm the manager behind the Upcut Studio team. I've been involved in content marketing for quite a few years helping startups grow.